“This is Burlesque” is the kind of show that just goes better with a cocktail. Conveniently, this shots flow freely at an on-stage bar during intermission. The cozy Tribeca space Corio cultivates an early 20th century feel, which suits this intimate, revue-style tribute to the craft of Gypsy Rose Lee and Blaze Starr just fine. Harking back to speakeasies and vaudeville, this show pays homage to the magic and roots of burlesque.
Lesbian fave (just don’t call him a “drag king”!) Murray Hill hosts, and he’s the funniest I’ve ever seen him. His timing has gotten a lot sharper, his shtick considerably less corny (he lets his suit and glasses take care of that part these days). I’ve long been a fan of Angie Pontani (“The Italian Stallionette”) and The World Famous Pontani Sisters and they deliver as always—both in Angie’s athletic solos and their tightly choreographed group numbers—adding a witty dose of creativity to all the bump and grind.
The tap-dancing sister Helen Pontani does the costumes for the show, which achieve gaudy splendor with truly minimal means. Peek-a-boo Pointe is touted as “the fastest tassel twirler from east to west,” and rightfully so. The show draws a wildly diverse crowd—there were purse girls, Europeans and assorted homos the night we went. Good for the gays? You bet, what with hot, self-possessed nearly naked women for the lesbians abundant campiness and sequined glamour for the gay boys.